Omaha, Nebraska becomes the center of the US sporting world for at least one sport this week as swimmers from across the nation gather there to compete for a spot on the US Olympic team that will be travelling to Rio later this summer. Eleven of those swimmers descending on the plains are current or former members of the Navy swimming program.
The Navy swimmers are going to have their work cut out for them if they are to make the grade and get on the plane to Brazil. There are over 1,800 swimmers that have qualified for the trials, many in multiple events. To qualify a swimmer must have met the standard time in an event since Jul 30, 2014. The field is massively elite. The 1,800 swimmers at the event represent one-half of one percent of all registered members of USA Swimming.
“Once every four years,” said Navy women’s swimming head coach John Morrison, “the Olympics puts all eyes on our sport and U.S.A. Swimming has been one of the most successful programs over the past 10 Olympiads. There is no doubt that the entire swimming world will be tuned in to the Trials to see who makes the 2016 Olympic team. To have as many of our swimmers qualify, compete and represent the Naval Academy at the pinnacle meet for most swimmers in their career is a tremendous accomplishment for our program. We are extremely proud of the Midshipmen who have qualified for it and equally proud of their teammates who have motivated them day in and day out to be able to compete at this level.”
The meet really does pick the elite of the elite. In each event only the top two finishers in final (after heats and semi-final rounds) are guaranteed to qualify for the Olympics. This is because the third swimmer chosen to represent is usually picked on other criteria just in case they have a bad day at the trials. This is a better system in most opinions than say the US Track & Field selection process that picks the three best finishers at the trials regardless of extenuating circumstances.
Best of luck to those 11 Navy swimmers chasing their Olympic dream.